Just when so many in the educational world are beginning to believe in the value of blogging and wikis in curriculum, Congress is introducing legislation that will require all schools and libraries to filter student access to online social networks or risk losing federal Internet subsidies. The bill, designed to “protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms,” defines a social networking site as:
“commercially operated Internet website that allows users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users and offers a mechanism for communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, email, or instant messenger.”
Regardless of where you stand on the MySpace issue, CIPA already serves to block obscene and inappropriate content. DOPA is unecessary. It promotes and extends the fear regarding use of technologies like the one with which I am currently reaching you.
Web 2.0 is a huge and growing movement; it is where communication is heading. Trying to stop it in schools is both short-sighted and futile. Tools are neutral, we can teach students how to use them creatively and responsibly. We can teach students when it is not safe to reveal information. It is NOT always unsafe to use a “mechanism for communication with other users.” In fact, sometimes such communication can be enriching, rewarding, and yes educational. If you are reading this, you likely already know that.
Let’s share our concerns with our legislators. I’ll be phoning today. The following came over the ALAWON List:
ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 15, Number 53
May 12, 2006
In This Issue: Bill would extend reach of CIPA by blocking access to collaborative networking sites
This week Reps. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Kirk (R-IL) introduced legislation that, if passed, would expand the law requiring libraries to block certain Internet content or lose federal funding.
Please call your Member of Congress today and ask him or her to oppose DOPA (H.R. 5319, Deleting Online Predators Act). The proposed law is unnecessary and would block access to a broad array of useful web resources and applications. Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
DOPA (H.R. 5319, Deleting Online Predators Act) would require schools and libraries to block access to a broad selection of web content including “commercial Web sites that let users create Web pages or profiles or offer communication with other users via forums, chat rooms, e-mail or instant messaging.” If passed, the bill would block users from
accessing sites like MySpace from schools or libraries, as well as access to a wide array of other content and technologies such as instant messaging, online email, wikis and blogs.
Tell your Members of Congress:
Schools and libraries are required under CIPA to block obscene or offensive internet content. DOPA is not necessary. DOPA is much too broad. The bill proposes to block access to beneficial collaborative web applications and resources. Education is the best way to protect children from online predators. Blocking websites does not protect children- teaching them to use the Internet responsibly and safely does.
Please call you Members of Congress today! Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121.